Category Archives: Cannabis Culture

Prince and princess of pot are expanding their dispensary empire, whether it’s legal or not

Cannibas Culture

 

Sunny Freeman | February 3, 2017

Jodie Emery struts through the hazy hallway of Cannabis Culture’s flagship Toronto store, through a 15-person deep checkout line, and then past the extracts, pre-rolled joints and display jars of bud into the lounge area where a group of pot enthusiasts is sparking up.

It is just after noon on a Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Cannabis Culture owner makes several attempts to call her husband, Marc, a famous marijuana legalization advocate, to wake him up. The Prince of Pot likes to sleep in, she explains, because he works past midnight, which is closing time at his shop in Toronto’s gay village downtown.

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Marc emerges half an hour later. He joins employees behind the counter to recommend strains and weigh portions for the rapidly growing lunchtime rush. Marc is focused on the Toronto flagship locale he owns, while Jodie oversees the franchising and most other aspects of the business. 

“This is what legalization looks like,” Marc said. “That’s exactly what we want to present to the government: You can go and do your rules and your thing and we’re going to do our thing.”

Many in the scene consider the Emerys weed royalty and the couple’s hard-fought decades-long dream of legalization may be on the cusp of fruition. But even as the government pursues legislation to set up a legal recreational market, the question of whether dispensaries such as theirs will be allowed to operate above ground hangs in the air.

Depending on the specific wording of the legislation, Canada’s prince and princess of pot could very well be excluded from the opportunity to earn a legal living in a recreational marijuana market that is expected to be worth as much as $22.6 billion annually.

In the meantime, a plethora of ganjapreneurs are looking to gain a foothold in the coming pot economy through the only current legal path, by becoming a Health Canada licensed medical marijuana producer. Many more are simply opening dispensaries on the sly, hoping to fly under the radar as they count down to legalization.

The Emerys worry licensed producers will monopolize the commercial system, but even if they are shut out, it will not deter the defiant outsiders from their aggressive expansion plans. 

The couple is relatively new to the dispensary business, jumping in less than two years ago with their first store in Vancouver and deciding to expand last year at the request of interested investors.

“When the opportunity came up to start dispensing cannabis I thought why not? If everybody else is doing it why shouldn’t we after all we’ve done?” Jodie said.

It’s a decision that has paid off so far. The crowd at Cannabis Culture’s flagship dispensary was just an average weekday, and sales spike on weekends. This location, one of 18 franchises, can pull in between $30,000 and $40,000 a day.

One man calls out to Jodie to say he’s one of her 38,000 Twitter followers. Another guy thanks Marc for his years of sacrifice to the cause, which include a five-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison.

For a guy who sometimes gives pot away for free, Marc keeps a keen eye on performance metrics and knows the exact headcount of customers they had last Friday: 1,783.

“You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that’s a good cash-flow business,” he said.

It could be even better if dispensaries like his become legal.

A task force report on legalization has recommended the government allow storefront locations in addition to the current mail-order system and acknowledged a majority of people who participated in the consultation process prefer a distribution system that includes dispensaries.

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Yet it remains unclear whether new government legislation will allow a place for the 400 or so dispensaries already operating.

The shops, most of which maintain at least an ostensible medical purpose, argue that they fill a gap for consumers by providing in-person advice, fostering competition and keeping prices low.

Marc has set an ambitious goal of opening 200 locations by the end of 2017, whether they are legal or not.

“Those questions to me are irrelevant, we just do what we do. We’re going to keep doing it. As long as the law is wrong we will disobey,” Marc said. “After prison, I didn’t want to be relegated to irrelevancy so I had to take the lead in provoking the authorities by opening up retail shops.”

And provoke he does.

Marc was most recently arrested just before Christmas, when cops raided six Cannabis Culture locations in Montreal, the day after he made a splashy debut in the city by bestowing free “nugs,” or marijuana buds, on throngs of admirers. Similarly, the flagship Toronto location opened a day after raids shuttered dispensaries across the city last May.

How police handle dispensaries varies widely across in the country, no more so than in the country’s two biggest markets. Vancouver has opted for a licensing system while Toronto police continue to crack down and raid dispensaries, citing public safety concerns.

Emery wears his 289 arrests, eight raids and five years in prison as a badge of honour. After all, the raids attract media attention and that attracts even more customers.

“Raids are just part of doing business. They’re annoying and they certainly set you back, but ultimately the police are wrong and we’re right,” he said.

Raid-related expenses, including covering the costs of lawyers for any employees who get arrested, have been built into the cost of doing business.

Those questions to me are irrelevant, we just do what we do. We’re going to keep doing it. As long as the law is wrong we will disobey

Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia NetworkMarc and Jodie Emery’s Cannabis Culture store on Church Street in Toronto. The couple, considered pot royalty, can’t keep up with the requests they have for franchise licences for their business model.

But the Emerys also have to think about the more mundane aspects of growing a franchise business, such as how much of a cut they should take. Jodie has been studying the Subway sandwich model and working with a franchise lawyer to help figure it out.

Cannabis Culture’s model asks for a $10,000 investment up front, plus a royalty of six per cent for the first six months, rising to seven per cent afterward. But she thinks they might be lowballing it. Subway, by contrast, asks for $15,000 upfront and a 12.5-per-cent royalty each month.

Cannabis Culture franchises can take in anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000 a day depending on their location, but about 60 per cent of that goes back into the stores, mostly toward buying new product, Jodie said.

Like all dispensaries, Cannabis Culture currently operates outside the law, so the Emerys have established their own guidelines: they don’t record customer information, do not require a doctor’s note and ask customers to show ID to prove they are over 19.

HST is tacked on to all prices and payroll taxes are collected, Marc said. He estimates they have turned over about half a million in taxes to the government.

The details of their supply chain are, somewhat understandably, sketchy. Jodie said much of the product comes from brokers who get it from those with medical growing licences. Many of the connections have stood for decades.

She equates the growers to farmers at a local market. They are proud of their product and would like to come forward, but prohibition forces them to stay in the dark.

Product quality is mostly assessed by a sight and smell test by store employees. But bigger locations such as the flagship store owned by Marc work with a lab to test strains for pesticides, mold and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in pot, and cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient said to have therapeutic effects. The tests can cost about $150 each, prohibitively expensive for most small-time operators.

My feeling is if I am not allowed to sell marijuana after all the work I’ve done this far, then who does have that right?

Tyler Anderson/National Post

Tyler Anderson/National PostMarc Emery, owner of Cannabis Culture, speaks with customers at his store on Church Street in Toronto. Like all dispensaries, Cannabis Culture currently operates outside the law.

Despite some unusual costs factored into the underground business, interest in Cannabis Culture and the Emerys runs high among investors — a diverse group that includes fellow activists as well as deep-pocketed business-types — who don’t seem to be deterred by dispensaries’ questionable legal status.

“‘I’ve got hundreds of franchise request emails coming in from all across Canada and even the U.S.,” Jodie said. “People are begging and I can’t even get back to them.”

Cannabis Culture’s brash business style irks some other dispensary owners worried that the Emerys’ in-your-face promotion style could turn off Canadians who are on the fence about legalization and the role of dispensaries within the system.

But Jodie is dismissive of their critics: “They’re looking at Cannabis Culture with a bit of green in their eyes saying you guy are big corporate cannabis now.”

Meanwhile, the Emerys are also feeling squeezed from the publicly traded licensed producers that they believe are trying to monopolize marijuana and shut them out of a free market. The Emerys say the market is big enough for all types of players — especially theirs.

“We’ve paid our dues. My feeling is if I am not allowed to sell marijuana after all the work I’ve done this far, then who does have that right?” Marc said. “And I don’t believe anybody else has that right over me.”

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Canada to be first G7 country to legalize weed – Gov-General

© Steve Dipaola

 

Next year Canada could become the first country in the G7 group of the world’s leading economies to legalize marijuana as the government announces its plans in a speech to parliament.

The freshly-elected Liberal government has reaffirmed their pledge to legalize marijuana as Governor-General David Johnson addressed the parliament with a speech that outlined the legislative agenda for the coming year.

“The Government will introduce legislation that… will legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana,” Johnson said, Canadian Global News reports. He did not elaborate on how the government plans to regulate or restrict access to the soft drug.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould also includes a provision suggesting that the justice minister should work “with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

Trudeau said that legalizing marijuana would fix a “failed system” and help remove the “criminal element” from marijuana production and trade, adding that Canadians would benefit from studying the experience of the US state of Colorado and Washington, which recently adopted similar laws.

The PM has stuck to that position since becoming the leader of the Liberal party in 2013. He says his support for the legalization of marijuana is influenced by the fate of his late brother, who was charged with drug possession for having “a tiny amount” of weed before his death in an avalanche in 1998.

Legalizing pot was a high profile election promise made by Trudeau during the latest election campaign that raised the Liberal Party to power after almost a decade of the Conservative rule. Two previous Conservative administrations also made such election promises but failed to live up to them.

In Canada, people are allowed to use medical marijuana in dried and edible forms on condition they do not smoke it. Growing marijuana at home is also legal, according to Global News.

Apart from legalizing marijuana, the new government also plans to cut taxes for citizens with middle income as well as to provide higher child benefits to the needy, which would be financed by a tax increase on the wealthiest 1 percent of the population.

The government also announced plans to provide significant investments in infrastructure, cut military spending, limit the budget deficit to 10 billion Canadian dollars ($7.5 billion) per year as well as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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By Gatewood Galbraith From the Upcoming Special Activist Issue of Cannabis Culture Magazine, March-April, #65. (2006)

Kentucky Politics / Kentuckians for Gatewood Galbraith

Gatewood for Governor, Kentucky
Category: News and Politics
Gatewood for Governor, Kentucky
By Gatewood Galbraith

 

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ID:	18455 From the Upcoming Special Activist Issue of Cannabis Culture Magazine, March-April, #65.


Howdy Folks! My name is Gatewood Galbraith.

My running mate Mark Wireman and I are candidates for the May 2007 Democratic Party Primary; I’m seeking nomination for Governor of Kentucky, and he for Lieutenant Governor. Of course, the winner of the battle between Democrats then faces a Republican in the Fall 2007 Kentucky General Election.

I have run for Governor of Kentucky three times. Twice, in the Democratic Primaries in 1991 and 1995, the Party froze me out because I championed cannabis as a cash crop for our farmers. In 1999, I ran as the Reform Party candidate in the November General Election and received 15.3 percent of the vote – after Jesse Ventura, Ross Perot, and Bernie Sanders, it was the best showing of any third Party candidate in America for the past 50 years. My last statewide race was in 2003 as an Independent for Attorney General. I received 110,00 votes (10 percent) despite the fact that I only went to 12 of our 120 counties and spent less then $20,000. (That’s 40 percent of the votes I need to win this 2007 Primary.) Everyone who heard our message of personal privacy, education, and self-determination supported it, but we simply weren’t able to adequately fund the effort. We must not allow that to happen this time.

I rejoined the Democratic Party in 2006 because the current Republican Governor has been such a disappointment (he was indicted!) that the smart money says the Democrat nominee will be the next Governor. The leadership of Kentucky’s Democratic Party is up in the air given the failures of the past, so should Mark and I win this Primary, we would resurrect the Democratic Party to once again be the voice of the People.

Ours is a multi-issue campaign focusing on Issues and Solutions. The "Issues" in Kentucky are poverty and illiteracy. In the past six years, Kentucky has gone from being the 10th poorest state to being 6th poorest. We have lost $2,100 in median income during those same six years ($36,400 annual average to $34,300). That’s going backwards, folks! But it’s not hard to see why: in 1991, over 68 percent of our state budget was for Education; in 2006, it was 60 percent. At the same time, we have added thousands of prison cells throughout the state and call it "growing the economy". Our politicians would rather imprison us than educate us! What farce this War on Drugs has been!

We have "Solutions" for these problems. Immediately, and until the laws are changed, cannabis should be the lowest priority of law enforcement with no arrests for possession. As soon as possible, I would like to see it decriminalized. Citizens arrested for "hard" drugs should be treated for their addiction, not imprisoned. We must educate our children – not only in the scholastic sense, but also about their freedoms and their duties as citizens to defend them. Our nation is being "dumbed down" about how the American Revolution sought to give individuals the tools of a Constitutional form of government to allow them to remain free. We need to re-ignite the American Revolution by taking the reins of government from the hands of the special interests and returning them to We, the People.

To encourage education I propose the Commonwealth Incentive, whereby every High School graduate in Kentucky gets a $5,000 voucher for books, tuition and fees at any institution of further learning within Kentucky – be it truck-driving school, cosmetology, electronics training, vocational training, community colleges or the University of Kentucky. No spending on pizza, rent, beer or other creature comforts; money is only spent when the student decides what they want to learn, and where they want to learn it, encouraging young people to stay in school. This should also attract vocational schools to the state. We also believe it should be mandatory that students in grades 4 through 12 should take mandatory civics and American Government courses – the current system is failing to truly educate out youth about our US history, rights, voting, politicians, and democracy! As for the environment, which our young people also need: we support tax incentives for our existing state industries to establish and maintain state-of-the-art environmental compliance with all regulations.

These and other facets of our platform and positions are expressed in my autobiography, The Last Free Man in America: Meets The Synthetic Subversion, available online at Amazon.com or by contacting us. It recounts my efforts over the past 35 years to change the cannabis laws and my friendships with Jack Herer, Marc Emery, and Willie Nelson (among many others). Willie has done three benefit concerts for me; he and I appeared on the front and back covers of the January 1991 issue of High Times. That was when I introduced Willie to biofuels. I drove my hemp oil fueled Mercedes across Kentucky as part of my campaign, the first time in 50 years that an automobile powered by hemp oil had traveled on a US highway. Now Willie is leading the biofuel pack with WN biodiesel. What a guy! I tell you all this because freedom loving people everywhere – and particularly my favorites, the cannabis community – should be aware that my election in this year’s campaign would be a giant step toward positive change not only in Kentucky where the benefits will be immediate, but nationwide as the effects of our changes become apparent.

Because the two largest newspapers and various other media in Kentucky have boycotted me in the past, we anticipate that they will do so again in this race. Therefore, we must raise sufficient finances to air our message by traditional means, to mount a winning campaign. We ask for your support in the form of a contribution; $100 is less than the court costs of speeding tickets in many states, so $100 spent towards actually changing laws is money well directed. If you can send $1,000 (the maximum allowable), we will be greatly honored, as we will be by donations of any amount. We can’t accept cash, but please send your check or money order to: Galbraith for Governor, P.O. Box 1438, Lexington, Kentucky 40588. We need your name, address, occupation and telephone number. You can also contribute online at Gatewood.com. (Election laws prevent Canadians or other foreigners from making donations to American campaigns so, unfortunately, we can only accept money from US citizens.)

Folks, I know you are aware of others who may have run for public office on the cannabis issue alone, but this campaign is much more extensive than that. Cannabis is a forefront matter in this race because it is interwoven with other real issues Americans and Kentuckians face in modern day-to-day life. No other candidate of our persuasion has more command of these other issues than I do, which makes me qualified to be Governor. All we lack right now is the funding and public support, and I’m asking you to please pitch in. God Bless You All.

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Sheree Krider
http://ky.usmjparty.org
Louisville, KY
Email: ShereeKrider@usmjparty.org

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The Cult of Marc Emery

 

MarcJodie-YazooPrison-01

Marc Emery is commonly known as the ‘Prince of Pot,’ which is a title he got from years of pot activism and, of course, pot smoking. Beyond his protesting, which got him arrested more than a few times, Marc Emery was a successful weed-seed seller, which became a lucrative business quite quickly. His cash flow got him noticed by the DEA, who extradited him from Vancouver to the US, where Marc was sentenced to five years in prison. 28 hours after his release, VICE’s Damian Abraham went to meet up with Marc at his welcome home party in Toronto. We also met with his co-accused, ‘Marijuana Man,’ and his wife Jodie, back at the Cannabis Culture HQ in Vancouver. This is the Cult of Marc Emery.

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Marc Emery Returns…

Marijuana Activist Marc Emery Is A Man On A Mission

Posted by Johnny Green at 7:29 AM on August 27, 2014 Ending Marijuana Prohibition

By Phillip Smith

 

Marc Emery

Canada’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery has finally returned to Canada after spending just over 4 ½ years in US federal prison for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet. From his base in Vancouver, BC, Emery parlayed his pot seed profits into a pro-marijuana legalization political juggernaut.

Not only did the gregarious former libertarian bookseller relentlessly hassle Canadian and American drug warriors — including the dour then-drug czar, John Walters — he published Cannabis Culture magazine, created the BC Marijuana Party and helped turn parts of downtown Vancouver’s Hasting Street into a Western Hemisphere Amsterdam, complete with a vaporizer lounge and several other cannabis-related enterprises.

Emery also put a bunch of his money — several hundred thousand dollars — into financing marijuana reform efforts on the US side of the border. It’s hard to say what, exactly, got him in the sights of US law enforcement, but when he was arrested by Canadian police at the behest of US authorities, the DEA was certainly quick to gloat that it had struck a blow against the forces of legalization.

The US eventually got its pound of flesh from Emery, forcing him into a plea bargain — to protect his coworkers — that saw him sentenced to five years in federal prison for his seed selling. Emery did his time, was released from prison earlier this summer, then sent to a private deportation detention facility in the US before going home to Canada less than two weeks ago.

But if US and Canadian authorities thought they had silenced one of the biggest thorns in their side, they should have known better. Nearly five years in prison hasn’t exactly mellowed Emery; instead, he is more committed than ever to drug war justice, and he’s raring to go.

The Chronicle spoke with him via phone at his home in Vancouver Monday. The topics ranged from prison life to marijuana legalization in the US to Canadian election politics and beyond.

“If you go to jail for the right reasons you can continue to be an inspiration,” Emery said. “I got a lot of affirmation, thousands of letters, people helped to cover my bills, and that’s a testament to my influence. My experience was very positive. I network well and try to live in the present moment, just dealing with what’s going on.”

Still, Emery needed about $180,000 to get through those 4 ½ years behind bars, including more than $18,000 in email costs — it isn’t cheap for federal prisoners to send emails, but for Emery, keeping his voice heard in the outside world was a necessity. He reports having received between $70,000 and $80,000 in donations while in the slammer.

“That still left Jodie doing the near impossible,” he said. She traveled from Canada to the southern US 81 times to visit her husband, visiting him on 164 days and spending a like amount of time in transit. If it weren’t for Jodie Emery, prison would have been a much lonelier place, as it is for most inmates.

“In my prison, there were 1,700 prisoners, but on an average weekend, only 25 were getting a visit,” Emery noted, adding that most inmates were either black or brown. “And other than Jodie, only seven people came to visit me.”

While Emery waited in prison, the world continued to turn, and he has emerged into a different place. Now, two US states and Uruguay have legalized marijuana outright, and two more states and the District of Columbia are likely to do so this fall. For the Prince of Pot, it’s all good.

“I like that Washington and Colorado went for two different models, although I think the Colorado model is better and has been more quickly executed,” he said. “In both places, prices haven’t really dropped, but they will once other states come on board. It has been really encouraging to see that people would travel to another state to buy it legally.”

That’s a good thing for the cannabis culture, he said.

“We are a proud culture. Legalization means a lot of things, and one of them is the end of stigmatization. We’ve been picked on and scapegoated as if we were taking part in some evil practice, but that is largely over in Denver,” Emery argued. “They’re integrating it into the mainstream economy; we’re going to see a lot of interesting things.”

Unsurprisingly, the small-L libertarian and marijuana seed entrepreneur is not overly concerned that legalization will lead to the commercialization or corporatization of the herb.

“We need big money in order to have an effective lobby,” he said. “When there’s something that tens of millions of Americans want, the money will come, and the money is welcome. It’s going to put into new products, new technologies, and we have to welcome that. Capitalism is way to make things happen legally, and we need to get those people on board.”

But Emery wants people to be able to grow their own, too.

“It’s not legal unless we can grow it in our backyards or fields,” he said, “and as long as we can grow it, it’s basically legal.”

That’s life in these United States, but Emery, of course, doesn’t live in the United States — in fact, he is now permanently barred from entering the country — he lives in Canada, and things haven’t gone nearly as swimmingly there when it comes to freeing the weed.

A decade ago, Canada was the hope of the global cannabis culture. It appeared poised to make the move toward legalization, but first the ruling Liberals were unwilling to even push through their decriminalization scheme, and then they were defeated by the Conservatives, who went in the other direction on marijuana policy, for instance, by adopting mandatory minimum sentences for growing more than small amounts of pot.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives remain in power today, and Emery has sworn political vengeance on them. He has also aligned himself with the Liberals, whose leader, Justin Trudeau, is now an advocate of legalization. That’s in line with Canadian public opinion, which consistently shows strong support for marijuana law reform, including a poll this week that showed two-thirds support for reform, with 35% saying legalize it and 31% saying decriminalize it.

The Liberals are going to try to take back the federal government in elections in October 2015, and Emery is happy to help savage the Conservatives whether it makes Liberals squeamish or not. His return just two weeks ago has already ignited a firestorm of media coverage, with his pot politics naturally front and center.

“We’ve now hijacked the whole conversation about the election; we are dominating the conversation,” he gloated. “It’s the number one election topic and has been since the second I arrived back in the country. There have been more than 150 articles about me in the last two weeks. It’s a big deal, and I’m delighted it’s a big deal. I have critics using up column inches to say disparaging things about me, and that’s great, too. There’s a real dialog going on, and we have the opportunity to change the feelings of our opponents and get them to understand the benefits to their communities in legalizing marijuana.”

But can the Liberals win? Yes, says Emery.

“Election day — October 19, 2015 — will be legalization day in Canada. If Trudeau becomes prime minister, there is no going back,” he prophesied. “And I am confident the Liberals will win. Normally, the anti-Harper vote is divided among the Greens, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Liberals, but this time, with Trudeau being so charismatic, I am urging everyone to just this once vote for the Liberals. And the feedback I am getting is that this is going to happen, a Liberal majority is going to happen, and you should be in on it.”

When it comes to marijuana reform, in Emery’s eyes, Canadian politicians should take a lesson from their counterparts south of the border.

“My opinion of Americans has only improved,” he said. “You did a great job in Colorado and Washington, and even your legislators are underrated. At least one from every state has gone to Colorado to check it out. It’s wonderful! Up here, if it weren’t for Justin Trudeau, we wouldn’t hear anything.”

Well, and now, Marc Emery. Again.

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Marc and Jodie Emery on prison, marijuana and the Liberals

canada.com

Having just returned to Canada from a five-year stint in a U.S. prison, Canada’s “Prince of Pot,” Marc Emery, and his wife Jodie, discuss his time in prison, the marijuana movement and why Justin Trudeau is the man who will bring their legalization agenda to Ottawa.

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Brooker: Emery’s reefer revenge just might work

By Kevin Brooker, Calgary Herald August 5, 2014

 

 

 

Brooker: Emery's reefer revenge just might work

Kevin Brooker

“Revenge!” Now there’s an anguished utterance you normally expect only to hear in bad Shakespeare parodies. Not last week, however, when Marc Emery, Canada’s so-called Prince of Pot, dropped the R-bomb on no less than the government itself.

Speaking to CBC Radio from a private deportation facility (whatever the heck that is) in anticipation of finally being released from the U.S. prison system, Emery said, “My own government betrayed me and I’m going to wreak an appropriate amount of political revenge when I get home and campaign against the Conservative government.”

Emery served nearly five years for the crime of selling seeds, “chained and shackled every inch of the way,” and obviously he isn’t about to forgive and forget. But this is no routine – and therefore hollow – act of fist shaking by a jailbird.

His threat is anything but empty. Emery is now poised to re-enter his chosen life’s work of cannabis activism in the most significant way possible, by threatening to turn the next federal election into a single-issue referendum on legalizing cannabis. He and his many supporters are planning to campaign for the Liberals, and will thus hold Justin Trudeau’s feet to the fire regarding his pledge to end the legal morass that is cannabis prohibition. Emery’s team already has 30 rallies planned across the country, with surely many more to come. His plan is to energize young voters on what will be

framed as a civil rights cause, irrespective of their personal relationship to cannabis.

The hand-wringers in Ottawa don’t know what to make of it. Many Liberals suggest Emery might be a liability to the party by alienating centrists with his brash rhetoric. The Tories, of course, will take every opportunity to disparage him, as they already have, as “a drug dealer who just got out of jail.”

But as the next few months unfurl, I suspect we will see Emery quietly absorbed into the Liberal fold. After all, he’s got buckets of money, commitment and organization. The prospect of him stumping for their brand could do the Liberals a huge favour, whether they admit it or not.

If nothing else, Emery will come home with a kind of street gravitas, having openly flouted laws on principle, knowing that he would some day do jail time, and doing a hard nickel to boot.

One strategist noted that, “Political parties don’t as a rule like to be associated with controversial figures, especially those who have served jail time,” though the annals of politics are filled with ex-cons. Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel come to mind.

Sure, Emery is no Mandela, but it is not difficult to argue that he was in some sense a political prisoner. The Conservative government acted vindictively, and politically, by bringing in U.S. drug warriors and seeing to it that Emery was renditioned to a place where he would serve a far harsher sentence than any Canadian court would deliver for such an offence.

Now he has a story to tell, plus an aura of martyrdom vis-a-vis the growing number of people who see cannabis prohibition as a colossal failure whose social harms far outweigh those of personal abuse. It is a tale with which many Canadians will empathize.

Much has changed since Emery’s been away. I write today from Washington state where, ironically, not far from the court that convicted him, any adult can walk into a store and purchase cannabis itself, and not merely seeds. Last week, Emery evinced pride that his long career of activism helped influence such developments here and in Colorado. Likewise, it has changed Canada. In his home province of B.C., for example, medical cannabis dispensaries have made the substance de facto legal.

The current patchwork of legality with respect to this ancient plant is just one more reason why Canadian voters are likely to respond positively to some form of blanket decriminalization. And if they do, Emery will have his revenge.

Kevin Brooker is a Calgary writer.

His column runs every second week.

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“Don’t get mad, get political” says BC’s Prince of Pot

Shelby Thom

August 03, 2014 02:10 pm

“That old phrase don’t get mad get even, well in a democracy it’s don’t get mad get political.”

BC’s Prince of Pot Marc Emery vows to rally behind Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in an attempt to oust the Conservatives in the 2015 federal election.

“With this opportunity that Justin Trudeau has put forward to Canadians by saying I’ll legalize marijuana, this is our great opportunity, this is the most pivotal election for the millions and millions of Canadians who want to see marijuana legalized.”

He adds “legalization in one word is the entire message. Legalization means a completely taxed and regulated medium of exchange. It means people will not go to jail, it means people won’t be punished in possession of it, it means there would be a regulatory system at work like there is in Washington and Colorado.”

Emery was speaking with Roy Green on the Corus Radio Network from a detention facility in Louisiana awaiting paperwork to be completed before he can return home to Canada.

Emery’s sentence for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana ended July 9th, and he expresses his discontent with the delays.

“The Canadian government knows I’m here, the American government knows I’m here, they could have had my passport information all done and completed by the time I finished by sentence, but they don’t do that, they don’t share information with the bureau of prisons for the Department of Homeland Security.”

Emery expects to return home within the next few weeks.

CONTINUE READING…

Cannabis Culture News LIVE: Marc Emery is Not Free Yet

 

 

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POT TV – Watch Cannabis Culture News LIVE for the latest news and views on pot politics and the marijuana community.

In this episode: Though Marc Emery’s official prison release date has just passed, he has not actually been released and may not be for sometime. We discuss the details with Marc’s wife Jodie Emery. Justin Trudeau’s latest endorsement comes from none other than Marc Emery, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Pot” – what’s he smoking? Facebook Post by the Conservative Party of Canada by CPC.

Also on the show: Cannabis Day 2014 and Redbeard’s Great Canadian Glass Gathering!

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Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.